About Wiki’s

A wiki is a website that allows the site visitors to add and edit content. Generally, site visitors use their browser to edit text without requiring HTML code. Additionally, some Wikis allow adding and editing of graphics, tables and interactive components.

The term wiki may also simply refer to the software used to create such a Website.

A blog site, by contrast, does allow visitors to add content, but does not usually allow them to change or edit previous comments from others.

The work “wiki” actually means “quick” or “fast” in Hawaiian. It was first used in 1994 by Ward Cunningham in Portland, Oregon. He developed his “WikiWikiWeb” after being inspired at Honolulu International Airport by an airport employee advising him to take the “Wiki Wiki Shuttle” between terminals; it was an alternative to “quick,” as he wanted to avoid the phrase “quick-web.”

The main characteristic of a Wiki is the ease with which a web page, called a “wiki page,” can be created and edited, often accepted without review or modification. Many wikis are open to the public and require no registration. Some do recommend logging in to provide for a “wiki signature cookie” to automatically sign edits. However, edits often appear in real-time. Private wikisystems may require registration and user authentication to edit, or even read, the content.

Some wikis automatically make copies of past pages; if an error or malicious editing occurs, a previous version can quickly replace the edited content. Many wikis encourage editors to fill out an “edit summary”; this is not published but allows editors to briefly summarize the changes and reason(s) for them.

Wikis may utilize a number of techniques to control changes. A revision history may be available to editors reviewing previous versions of a page or section. A recent changes page may also be consulted. Some regular content viewers may willingly and regularly review page content and be automatically notified of changes.

The open philosophy does sometimes invite malicious changes. However, most wikis approach this problem by making such changes easily deleted or edited out, as opposed to attempting to prevent such malicious editing. Other wikis require a short registration or give extra privileges or editing functions to users with a history of valid editing.


What is a Wiki?

  • A collaborative website or online resource that can be directly accessed and edited by multiple users
  • A content management system allowing users to create and edit multiple interlinked web page documents
    • Users can also change or comment on other’s contributions.
  • Wikis are usually oriented to providing knowledge in specific domains
    • Can be used as a form of internal communication between teams in an organization.
  • A wiki is not like a static website, whose content is controlled by an owner or webmaster.


  • Wiki pages may include text, links, images, audio, and video.
    • Many wikis also have a discussion/comments
    • These tools can be used to provide feedback, note a connection, or explain changes that have been made.
  • Additions and changes are tracked in the wiki’s history.
  • Wikis are fully searchable
    • This makes them useful for accessing up to date resources.
  • The best-known example of a wiki is Wikipedia.

VIDEO – Wikis in Plain English:


  • Improve participatory and collaboration skills.
  • Enhance productivity with rapid content development.
  • Utilize markup language that is accessible to experts and non-experts alike.
  • Offer a virtual space for users to cooperate across time and distance.
  • Allow uploading/attaching of files to pages within the wiki.
  • Create a new culture of collective intelligence
  • Individuals build on each other’s knowledge, thus forming “participatory communities”
  • Help build social connections beyond the workplace and academic settings.
  • Creates communities of users is united in a common goal. Help students with reading, writing, and collaborative learning skills.
  • Assist organizations in leveraging a proactive, technology-aware environment.
  • A learning resource to share ideas and knowledge.


  • Open communities, such as Wikipedia, do not safeguard or establish content accuracy.
  • Yet many informed learners continue to consult, reference, contribute to, and revise Wikipedia.
  • These actions help to validate the Wiki as an effective technology tool available for use in learning, disseminating, enhancing and correcting content

Wikis vs. Blogs

  • Blogs are designed for a single blogger to communicate with many followers.
  • Blogs are also composed of posts and comments.
    • But no one is able to alter the comment and post of another person.
    • This format allows expression of individual opinion or explanation of information.
  • Wikis are structured to be more open and collaborative than blogs.
  • Wikis’ history function allows the examination and restoration of previous versions

Wikis in Business

  • Many wiki communities are private, particularly within corporations and public organizations
  • Known as enterprise or corporate wikis
  • Wikis are often used for internal documentation
  • Have the advantages of increased internal security and customizability
  • Able to disseminate required information inside an organization rapidly and inexpensively
  • Companies also use wikis for project management and to market products and services to customers
  • Concept from Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything book by Tapscott and Williams
  • Wikinomics is based on four powerful concepts
    • Openness
    • Peering
    • Sharing
    • Acting globally
  • Peer collaborative production is emerging as an alternative model for production and idea creation.
  • It can harness skill, ingenuity and intelligence effectively.
  • Wikis are a prime example of peer production – a new method of producing goods and services that harness the power of mass collaboration.

Wikis at School

  • Primary, secondary, and post secondary educational institutions have employed wikis for:
    • Collaborative writing
    • Manuals
    • Textbooks
    • Discussion and review
    • Projects
    • Reflection journals
    • Presentations
    • Formal and informal assessment
  • Assist learners in collaboratively co-constructing knowledge help students learn and engage courseware
  • Disseminate research and resources among educators and students
  • Function as online knowledge repositories
  • Shift responsibility from faculty to the student
  • Students support the learning efforts of other students through collaboration


  • Cost: wikis are open source
  • Complexity: technical support is usually available
  • Control: access can be restricted
  • Clarity: easy to navigate and use
  • Portability: can be accessed through any browser
  • Commonality: common set of editing features

Wiki Hosting Sites

  • Wikispaces
  • Wikispaces for Educators
  • MediaWiki
  • Moin Moin Wiki
  • Wikidot
  • PBWorks
  • Wetpaint
  • Xwiki
  • Twiki Enterprise Wiki